Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Naaladiyaar – 352

Even if it lives in a prosperous pond,
a frog cannot cleanse its sliminess;
Even if one learns flawless tomes,
one who doesn’t get its nuances, cannot improve.

செழும் பெரும் பொய்கையுள் வாழினும், என்றும்
வழும்பு அறுக்ககில்லாவாம், தேரை; வழும்பு இல் சீர்
நூல் கற்றக்கண்ணும், நுணுக்கம் ஒன்று இல்லாதார்
தேர்கிற்கும் பெற்றி அரிது.

Poem 352 from Naaladiyaar. A frog, even though it lives in water, cannot cleanse itself of its sliminess. Similarly, even if one is immersed in great books, unless he understands its essence and nuances, he will not be able to improve himself.

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